Tech News: The Advantages of 1080p

Epson Home Cinema 1080

Last month we talked about the emergence of true HD (1080p) resolution. This month we are able to report another development in 1080p, a breakthrough price point! Epson has just released the new Home Cinema 1080 projector at the lowest price point for 1080p – under $3,000.

That price point drops the bottom of the 1080p price options about $1000 from just one month ago. $2,999 may not seem like it is particularly affordable, but when you consider the fact that a good quality 720p projector would have cost you that much a year ago, it’s clear that manufacturers are looking to push true HD to compete with the incredibly popular native 720p displays. Below is our newly modified chart which we included just last month in our “State of Home Theater Projectors” newsletter.

Price ranges by resolution
WVGA 480p (848 x 480) $599 – $999*
WXGA-H 720p (1280 x 720) $799 – $4,999
HD 1080p (1920 x 1080) $2,999 – $5,499
The Epson Home Cinema 1080 price drop opens up the 1080p market. It’s a $1000 drop from just one month ago. * Prices ranges as of April 2007 on ProjectorPeople.com.

So what’s the big deal with 1080p?
Epson Home Cinema 1080

To start, it’s the best resolution available today, and now (finally) there are sources that can produce 1080p content. Most of the available content for 1080p comes from up-converting sources like an upconverting DVD player (Oppo) or video scaler (DVDO). Video scalers can convert ANY signal that comes into it, including regular cable broadcasts, standard 480p DVDs, and even VHS tapes. Up-converting DVD players scale only the DVDs they play. The most common native broadcast signals are still 720p and 1080i, which a 1080p native projector can scale just fine. But for the true HD experience you should invest in some kind of up-converting source until the networks can catch up.

[ photo: Football game on the new Epson 1080 Pro Cinema. ]

It also makes sense that you would want the best resolution possible when you displaying a screen that is eight times as big as the average display*. Images as large as projectors produce can exagerate artifacts, simply because the image is so large they are more noticeable. But a true HD source on a 92-inch screen looks so good it’s almost scary. You may have heard discussion about the movies stars who’s flaws are already showing up in HD on the small screen, with your big screen 1080p, you will be the resident expert on the subject. Who knows, maybe it will finally put an end to that crush your wife has on Brad Pitt.

* An image size up to 120 inches is more than eight times the display area of a 40-inch big screen television.

More Pixels Mean Better Color, Black Levels, and a Smoother Image.

There are additional benefits to higher resolution as well. More resolution means more than just more lines of resolution; it also means pixels. In fact, 1080p amounts to just about double the number pixels of a native 720p display.

  • Better color saturation (more pixels equal more color detail)
  • Better contrast (more pixels equals more light blocked on the screen)
  • Smoother and more detailed image (more pixels allow for more information passed to each pixel)
Price ranges by resolution
WVGA 480p (848 x 480) 407,040 pixels
WXGA-H 720p (1280 x 720) 921,600 pixels
HD 1080p (1920 x 1080) 2,073,600 pixels
HD has twice the number of pixels of a 720p native display.

Why HDMI with 1080p?

We also mentioned last month that it is sometimes reported that component video cannot support a 1080p signal. In reality it can, but the option is often disabled due to copy protection issues. Meaning content is not copywright protected over component video, but is over HDMI and DVI. The new Epson ProCinema 1080 can support the true high-definition 1080p resolution via component if you are able to locate a source that outputs 1080p through component. In most cases, however, you will need an HDMI source when using a native 1080p display.

Our Most Popular 1080p Home Theater Projectors

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